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Frequently Asked Questions

The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site.

Can a landlord come into my apartment whenever they want?

Generally speaking, no. A landlord has a right to enter rental units in the case of emergency or to make repairs. Usually, in the case of repairs, they are required to ask permission and/or to provide advance notice before entering. State law often governs the requirements of this notice.

Can a landlord take matters into their own hands to evict a tenant?

The short answer is no.  If a landlord attempts to do so, it can lead to a host of problems. These actions can result in extra penalties and court costs for the landlord. When a landlord skirts the legal requirements of providing notice of termination of a lease and the commencement of eviction proceedings, and instead starts throwing a tenant’s stereo out the window, changing the locks, cutting off the electricity, etc., they are committing an illegal “self-help” eviction. Taking matters into their own hands is never a good solution for landlords.  Tenants have rights.

What can happen if a tenant doesn’t pay rent when it is due?

Initially, a compassionate landlord may simply make repeated requests for payment of rent. If the problem continues the landlord may take a tenant to court for payment of back rent and may also commence a lawsuit to have the tenant physically removed (evicted) from the property.

Does the Fair Housing Act prohibit discrimination against minorities?

Yes. Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act) makes it unlawful for a landlord or property owner to discriminate against potential renters (or home-buyers) on the basis of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and handicap (disability). The Act prohibits a variety of improper activities including, among many others, lying about the availability of property, charging more rent to minorities, or attempting to keep neighborhoods or other areas free of minorities.

I am in foreclosure – what do I do?

If you have been served with foreclosure papers or will be within a short period of time, you should know that the worst thing that you can do is NOTHING. Ignoring your real estate problems will only make them worse. Homeowners facing these difficult and challenging circumstances are urged to contact The Law Offices of Debi V. Rumph for a consultation to evaluate their financial situation and their mortgage documents. However, we cannot help you if you do not take the first step and call our office.

If I am purchasing or selling a home, should I hire an attorney to oversee the process?

Since you will be signing contracts and a substantial amount of money will likely be involved, it is a good idea to hire an attorney to protect your interests and ensure that the entire process is legal and valid.

As a seller, are there any defects which I must disclose to the buyers before signing a contract?

To avoid legal problems down the road, it is a good idea to disclose all defects; however, not all defects are legally required to be disclosed.  Therefore, it’s very important that you discuss your options with an attorney. If there are defects in the home and you do not disclose them, you could find yourself in court.

Is there anything I should do before purchasing a property or land?

The title should be searched to ensure that the property is free and clear of any claims or liens. A real estate attorney can do this for you and ensure that it’s safe to go ahead and purchase the property or land you’re interested in.